Eirgrid Tourist/Visitor Submission

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EirGrid Tourist/Visitor submission

Dear Mr. Slye, Mr. Fitzgerald and members of the Grid Development Strategy team

As a regular visitor to your beautiful country I was dismayed to hear of proposals last year to industrialise the landscape with pylons and turbines due to the Irish Governments 'all wind' renewable policy.

I have taken a look at Eirgrid's revised “Grid Development Strategy”:

EirGrid ‘s report stipulates that, for a number of projects, new overhead line infrastructure will be required, even on the basis of its new forecast of minimal growth in demand.

The requirement for this additional transmission capacity is driven almost exclusively by the need to accommodate more wind power. I and many others question whether increasing wind generation is a sensible energy policy for Ireland. Many other European countries are now revising their subsidy programmes for wind support in favour of other renewables that are more cost effective from a carbon abatement perspective and less damaging to the environment and the precious landscape.

There are alternatives to on-shore wind available. I am aware, for example, of the report by independent energy consultants, BW Energy, that indicates that conversion of Moneypoint to UN certified sustainable biomass would be a more cost effective way to meet Ireland’s commitment to the EU Renewable Energy Directive. Conversion of coal fired Moneypoint to sustainable biomass - re-engineering existing plant - requires no new transmission infrastructure, no new wind farms and meets Ireland's EU 2020 renewable electricity targets much more cost effectively than doubling onshore wind power. Is that option being rigorously investigated and discussed?

Nowhere in the current strategy document has EirGrid addressed the question of how many of the other proposed transmission projects would be necessary if there were no further expansion of wind power. This is a critical item that now needs to be addressed.
EirGrid, of course, is not alone in its responsibility on these issues. Government should take an alternative approach to meeting its climate change and renewable energy obligations. To meet EU targets, our leaders have committed to expanding the contribution of renewables to electricity generation from the current 20% to 40% by 2020.
In doing so, however, the Irish Government should not just assume that it should take the “well-trod path” and continue to expand onshore wind, with all the associated additional pylons. Rather, it should look at other options, particularly the use of sustainable biomass and photovoltaic panels. Such innovative thinking is essential if you are to protect Ireland's core tourism and bloodstock industries.

I will be grateful for your replies to the questions and concerns raised here.

Yours sincerely,

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